I had prepared to be outside, but I was lucky enough to find my booth was assigned inside the dome (no windy day for me), which was really nice because I get cold easily. This was a fun show, and I sold out of the stock I brought with me of lip balms, hand wax, foot repair, healing salve, and foot scrub.
For those wondering about my lace tablecloth, it was hand crocheted by my maternal grandmother. I like to take it to every show with me, so she is there in spirit. She taught me a lot about healing herbs and told me stories of her soap making days, so I think she’d have fun being at these shows if she were still here. Plus it looks pretty and vintage-y like just my soaps.
Here are some pictures of my booth from the day
Hi! My next event is at the Rockwall Winery on Saturday, June 15th, 2013. In addition to my normal soaps and scrubs and goodies. I have 4 new summer soaps that smell awesome and they are Raspberry Lemon, Cucumber Melon, Grapefruit and Stinson Beach (which is oceany clean).
I will also be releasing all natural bug spray, just in time for the camping/ outdoor season, a healing salve, hand wax that heals cuticles and protects hands (which is great for gardening and camping).
Plus my lotions will be back and reformulated without stearic acid and emulsifying wax, a fatty acid and fatty alcohol respectively, because I wanted all my products able to be used on all skin types. Although my fatty acids and fatty alcohols came from palm or coconut oil sources, I found in research that both can exacerbate certain skin conditions, so out they went, since my goal is products for even the most sensitive skin.
Today I made some After Midnight soap, which is a toasted coconut lavender scent. This one uses a base of Rice Bran Oil, Palm Oil, Coconut Oil, and Castor Oil. I add black oxide and naturally purple clay to give it it’s color, and of course the essential oils for scent. I included some pictures above to illustrate a little of what goes on in the process of making all my soaps.
I start by measuring all my oils by weight. Then I pour them all into a stainless steel pot and heat them just until they are all melted, usually the temperature doesn’t go about 120 degrees F. Meanwhile, I put on goggles and gloves and mix the lye with water and let stand to cool, since the lye makes the water very hot. When the lye water and oils are both around 100 degrees F, I mix them together using a hand mixer, which makes for a nice smooth blend. After it is at a thin trace I add essentials oils and additives like clays and herbs. After that I pour the mixture into a mold, and insulate with cardboard usually reclaimed from shipping boxes and old towels. Often by the next day it’s hard enough to cut and then it needs to cure for 8 weeks before it’s sold. At the end of 8 weeks the saponification process is completely done, which means there is no lye left, just solid gentle soaps.
Today I cut 8 lbs of my new grapefruit soap and 16lbs of my very popular peppermint soap. These are both 2 days old, I tend to cut my soap 1-4 days after it is made, when it is about as hard as cheddar cheese and then let the bars cure individually. In the above photos you can see how I cut my soap. I use a butcher knife and re-purposed old cookie cooling racks as my drying rack. While I still hand turn my soap every other day during the curing process, the wire racks help ensure that air it getting to all sides of the soap, helping it cure evenly.
Today I made some new healing salve, which I tentatively have named Old Thyme Healing. It’s based on antique healing herbs/ oils and herbs , thyme being the overall scent and a powerful antiseptic.
The herbs in this salve offer antiseptic and antibacterial properties that help prevent infection, speed healing, and relieve pain. It is intended for use on minor skin irritations such as cuts, burns, scalds, stings, and wounds.
I made 15 tins today, these will go out to my testers before I make tins for sale. I myself have some cuts I’m documenting to see if this salve speeds healing as it should. So far it has reduced the pain of a cut on my face, which is thanks to the white willow bark that acts like a natural aspirin.
Hopefully I can update the healing salve progress soon. Below are pictures of what it looks like un-labeled.
I’m lucky enough to have a friend that grows herbs and flowers organically, and we work in trade. I recently went over to harvest 2 lbs each, of rosemary and Lavender. Today I’ve been making Lavender Essential Oil and Lavender Hydrosol, they form together and I use both for different things. Hydrosols are also known as floral waters, hydroflorates, flower waters or distillates are products from steam distilling plant materials.
I’m still a small operation so I can not afford a proper still yet, but I make do with one made from kitchen equipment, it works well even if it’s a bit more time consuming. I use a double boiler, with lid inverted to act as condenser and a ceramic baking ramkin to catch the oils and hydrosol. You can see my setup in the photos below. I lose a little bit of steam with this method because it is not sealed, but it works well for now.
Steam passes through the plant material and collects a small amount of oil, it all falls into my center ramekin, later I pour all my essential oil and Hydrosol in a tall thin glass to stand and separate, most oils float and I can pipe them off the top of the water. 1/2 lb worth of Lavender yields about 2 ml worth of essential oil for me.